Foot & Ankle

The ankle is the joint between the foot and leg which allows downward and upward motion. The joint is comprised of two bones in the lower leg and an ankle bone which are held together by ligaments located both outside and inside the joint. When the ligaments surrounding the joint stretch or tear, it is commonly known as an ankle sprain.


Ankle sprains occur more often with athletes as a result of sports activity. However, they can also occur by simply walking on an uneven surface. An uneven surface causes the foot to roll over, stretching the ligaments beyond its limits and creating a sharp pain. It is more common for the injury to occur on the outside of the ankle causing ankle instability, swelling, bruising, stiffness and tenderness when touched.

The ankle is a joint that connects the lower leg to the foot. Holding the muscle to the bone are strong bands of connective tissue called tendons. When inflammation occurs in the tendon surrounding the ankle, it is called ankle tendonitis. Typical causes of tendonitis are overuse of the tendons, injury, flat foot, or bony spurs. Ankles are especially susceptible to tendon injuries.


Symptoms of ankle tendonitis are pain, swelling, and stiffness of the ankle making it difficult to perform normal activities. Additionally, ankle tendonitis can lead to three other common types of tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, and peroneal tendonitis. All three conditions are closely located within the foot, often causing similar symptoms, and affecting one another.

The foot and ankle consist of thirty bones and one hundred ligaments, tendons, and muscles. They provide support and keep the body stable while allowing flexibility for the motion that is necessary for day to day living. The foot and ankle can have deformities – meaning they can take on an abnormal shape preventing them from being able to perform normally.


Deformities that affect the foot and ankle include flatfoot, cavus foot, ankle sprain, and tendonitis. The symptoms of these deformities tend to be similar because the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons are dependent on one other and are located close together. Swelling, tingling, numbness, difficulty walking, increased pain when pressure is applied or misshape in structure are typical symptoms of foot and ankle deformities. Deformities can be complex to the extent where bone is lost around the ankle or short toes. 

Cavus foot is commonly known as a high arch in the foot where the height of the arch can be severe to the point of deformity. This deformity presents with the inner edge of the foot raised higher than normal.


The cause of cavus foot varies from person to person and often the reason for the deformity is unknown. In certain cases, it is the result of nerve disease, clubfoot, injury or previous medical conditions such as cerebral palsy or a stroke.

The effects of cavus foot include hammertoes, claw toes, and calluses on the heel or foot and pain is present when pressure is applied from either walking or standing. Due to the improper formation of the foot, the ankle is more susceptible to injury. However, foot drop can also be experienced due to weakening of muscles in the foot and ankle causing the foot to drag when walking.

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